May 31/04 5:33 am - Best Ever Women's Racing Expected For BC Superweek
Posted by Editoress on 05/31/04
Best Ever Women's Racing Expected For BC Superweek
Eric Dwyer, Media Relations Coordinator
The "Teutonic Terror" and the "Canadian Streak" are the main attractions in what is expected to be the best, the fastest and the most competitive BC Superweek of cycling in Delta, Gastown and White Rock this summer.
"They've got a couple of real heavy hitters there," says Vancouver cyclist Marni Prazsky, referring to Germany's Ina Teutenberg, one of the best sprinters in the world and Quebec's Lyne Bessette, the finest road racer in Canada and a member of the Quark team competing in the Tour de Delta, July 16-18, Tour de Gastown July 21 and the Save On FoodsTour de White, July 23-25.
At 32 Prazsky has developed into a heavy hitter herself. The Lehigh Cement Criterium champion in the inaugural Tour de Delta in 2000, is having the best season of her life this year, dominating local events and winning a major road race, the TST against a strong field of Americans in Washington. "Marni's definitely racing better than ever," confirms her husband Allan. "She's finally getting around her inability to climb and time trial and convinced herself she can do both. That win in Washington was on a very hilly, 85 kilometer course on the Olympic Peninsula."
While she's pleased with her win and podium finishes in 2 other major spring races in Washington and Oregon, Prazsky knows it'll be tougher than ever to win at home. "The depth of the field has always been amazing for Superweek," she says "and this year it'll be awesome. A lot of the girls in the States told me they're planning to come up for the races. There's a real vibe about the BC races in Delta and White Rock and they're really stoked about Gastown. Racing in front of that huge crowd is a real thrill for anyone. Last year it was probably the greatest race I've ever been in." Unfortunately Prazsky and the rest of the field were just spectators, racing for 3rd after Teutenberg and North Vancouver's Allison Sydor lapped the field. Teutenberg finally outsprinted Sydor, a World Mountain Bike Champion to continue her sweep of the Superweek crits in the Tours de Delta and White Rock.
"I'd never been to Vancouver before and I fell in love with the place," said Teutenberg in confirming her return in 2004. "The water. The mountains. It' s beautiful and the racing was great. I plan to come back every year I can. It reminds me so much of home." Both of her homes. The native of Dusseldorf, Germany now lives in the mountains in Park City, Utah. She's been racing for 23 of the 29 years of her life, starting when she was six. Her talent, feistiness and competitiveness were obvious immediately. She crashed in her first race and had to be rushed to hospital. The next day she was back racing again. Her squat, powerful body, 5'5", 150 lbs, made her a super sprinter and great criterium rider. Her star studded career includes 3 World Junior titles and more than a hundred criterium and stage race championships.
She won all of the BC Superweek criteriums last year as a member of the powerful Saturn squad that dominated racing in North America. After Saturn ended its sponsorship she has been riding independently. At BC Superweek this year she'll be racing against former Saturn teammate Lyne Bessette, a 29 year old veteran Canadian National team member who won gold in the 1998 Commonwealth Games Road Race. "Wow, that's great for the fans to get to see a couple of great racers like Lyne and Ina in the same race," says Marni Prazsky. "Ina's super strong in the crits and Lyne is a real road race specialist. It's always exciting to have women like that race against us in our own stomping grounds. It's definitely going to push us to another level."
The strong field of local riders will include the ageless wonder, Sara Neil who leads the SISU BC Cup standings again at the age of 42, Leah Goldstein, 2nd to Teutenberg in Delta's Lehigh Cement criterium and Mandy Poitras who was 3rd in the same race a year ago. Burnaby's Poitras, 29, thinks she has a chance to win this year thanks to a new team, Symmetrics and a new teammate, Prazsky. "Marnie and I definitely work well together," she says. "The top sprinters like Ina are really well supported with teams and so with Marnie and I able to support each other the playing field should be a little more level. It comes down to speed and positioning. We will work for whoever is going best on that day with the best chance at taking a win. Delta, Gastown and White Rock are all a great part of helping to raise the profile of women's cycling and the BC riders are eager to show that we are on equal ground with the best." They'll get that chance in the Tour de Delta, July 16-18, Gastown July 21 and the Tour de White Rock July 23-25.